Here are two additional insights from John Medina‘s excellent book “Brain Rules“.

Our attention is given out in 10 minute increments.  When giving a presentation you must hook your audience in the first minute. That means conveying why they should care and a broad outline (or gist) of what you plan to talk about.   A relevant anecdote is often useful and emotional content can make it even more powerful.  Having successfully hooked your audience, you have their attention for the next 9 minutes where you can go into the more boring details. After that, you need to start over again and rehook the audience for the next 10 minutes.

We can’t multi-task our attention.  Some people are less disrupted by task switching however.  This means your work environment and what you allow to interrupt you is very important (e.g,. email notifications, phone calls, music, TV, etc).